"Sidon, 'Ain al-Hilweh and the villages are only the beginning"

by Elias Khoury
published in MER131

This article, by the Lebanese novelist and literary critic, Elias Khoury, appeared in the Beirut daily, al-Safir, on February 18, 1985, immediately following what Israel has termed the first stage of its withdrawal from Lebanon. Khoury highlights the contradictions of the current situation in the region: while the invasion dealt the Palestinian national movement a serious setback, this same invasion created the basis for a major Israeli defeat and the victory of the Lebanese national resistance.

Prospects for China's Expanding Role in the Middle East

by Kyle Haddad-Fonda
published in MER270

In the autumn of 2011, as the international outcry against Bashar al-Asad intensified, it was impossible for the government of China to avoid being drawn into the conflict in Syria. After China joined Russia in October of that year in vetoing a UN Security Council resolution condemning the brutality of the Asad regime, a series of demonstrations erupted throughout the Middle East. Many protesters reserved their strongest feelings for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who had become the most visible opponent of international intervention in Syria. Yet China, which up to that point had rarely inflamed such passions in the Arab world, was also a target of the demonstrators.

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Our Primer on Israel-Palestine

by The Editors | published March 3, 2014 - 4:33pm

Some 43 years ago, a group of activists in the movement to end the war in Vietnam founded the Middle East Research and Information Project.

The impetus was that the American public, including the anti-war left, was poorly informed about the Middle East and the US role there. The region was commonly depicted as alien, its politics uniquely determined by religion and impossible to explain with ordinary categories of analysis. The original idea behind MERIP was to produce better reporting that would get picked up by existing left outlets.

Bernard Lewis' Anti-Semites

by Joel Beinin
published in MER147

Bernard Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice (New York: W.W. Norton, 1986).


In the 1960s, nearly all university students in Middle East history courses read Bernard Lewis’ The Arabs in History (1950), The Emergence of Modern Turkey (1961) and The Middle East and the West (1964). Our teachers almost universally admired these books for their professional scholarship and clear exposition. Their attention to economic and social issues, while modest by today’s standards, was striking compared to the almost exclusive concern of Lewis’ contemporaries with religious and narrowly political topics.

Interview with Mohamed Sid-Ahmed

by Joe Stork
published in MER147

Mohamed Sid-Ahmed is a Contributing Editor of this magazine and Managing Editor of Al-Ahali, the weekly of Egypt’s left opposition party, Tagammu‘. Joe Stork spoke with him in Washington in early May.


You recently attended the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers. What were your impressions?

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Khalidi, Under Siege

by Yezid Sayigh
published in MER142

Rashid Khalidi, Under Siege: PLO Decisionmaking During the 1982 War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).

Among the many books dealing with the 1982 war in Lebanon, Rashid Khalidi’s stands out by focusing on the perceptions and decisions of that campaign’s main target: the PLO. The book asks a series of questions in order to get to those at the core: Why did the PLO leave Beirut? What were the main pressures influencing the decision first to stand and fight and then to evacuate the city? Which pressures proved successful and which ineffective?

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The Palestinians Twenty Years After

by Rashid Khalidi
published in MER146

The current situation of the Palestinian people appears grim today. But it is revealing to compare it with the situation of 20 years ago, in the wake of the June War. For while many of the problems the Palestinians face today date back at least to that cataclysmic event, other problems were undreamed of in 1967. There have been a number of fundamental changes which enable us to place these two decades in proper perspective and to appraise both the achievements and the setbacks of the Palestinian national movement, headed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

1967 and the Consequences of Catastrophe

by Fred Halliday
published in MER146

The June 1967 war was immediately seen in the Arab world as an event of catastrophic proportions. It destroyed the credibility of radical Arab nationalism, strengthened the position of Israel in the region, and left Israel in control of large areas of Arab territory -- Sinai, the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West Bank. (Gaza and the West Bank were parts of Palestine occupied by Egypt and Jordan in 1948.)

Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER155

For years, economic analysts of all political persuasions have been commenting on the protracted economic crisis which began with the global recession of 1974-75 and continues to be the defining feature of world capitalism today. Most have restricted themselves to those manifestations of the crisis which have been particularly acute at various moments: the oil price shocks of the 1970s, Third World debt, African famine and the inability of the market to ensure adequate food supply, the US balance of payments deficit, and so forth. By contrast, Joyce Kolko’s Restructuring the World Economy (New York: Pantheon, 1988) links these and other issues in a comprehensive analysis of the crisis.

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Repercussions in the Middle East

published in MER152


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